Students at Mary Washington are no strangers to experiencing issues while signing up for classes—either someone you know, or you yourself have experienced the living nightmare that can result from the course registration process at UMW.
It’s quite easy to forget all of the horror stories once the semester gets started and students settle with classes they’re reasonably satisfied with, but for some who have difficulty getting into classes they need, decisions to take classes not required can be detrimental to a goal of graduating in four years.
The same multitude of problems arise each semester while students prepare to register—Eaglelink goes down, classes seem to disappear in large chunks and students tend to end registration more frustrated than content.
While attending a liberal arts school means we get a broader exposure to different kinds of courses, this doesn’t mean we should have difficulty graduating on time. Almost no one gets their first pick for the schedule they mapped out before their registration; sacrifices must always be made. Students end up being punished in the long run for taking “fun” classes that seem interesting opposed to classes that satisfy general education or major requirements, usually because those picks tend to be full.
If we’re promised to have a more personalized education since this is a smaller school, there shouldn’t be such sharp contrasts between taking what we want and taking what we need.
Students who switch majors at UMW sometimes complete enough credit hours to be equivalent to a minor at other schools. Most departments are still consdiering whether to approve minors. This is potentially problematic since classes in most departments are often too full to accept every major student, let alone accommodating those who are trying to attain a minor.
Professors do their best to have room for everyone by offering enough sections, but sometimes there are shortages that can’t be made up. Many departments and indivudual professors refuse to force-add students, even in extenuating circumstances.
The Commonwealth probably won’t be able to provide as much money as they have in the past due to budget cuts, and everyone is feeling the strain. Students shouldn’t need to worry about paying for an extra semester to complete their degree.
Administrators and advisers need to be more diligent about ensuring students are on track and understand how the system works. While students should take personal responsibility in achieving their academic goals, they need a more reliable system to work with.